Restoring cortical control of functional movement in a human with quadriplegia : Nature

Millions of people worldwide suffer from diseases that lead to
paralysis through disruption of signal pathways between the brain
and the muscles. Neuroprosthetic devices are designed to restore
lost function and could be used to form an electronic ‘neural bypass’
to circumvent disconnected pathways in the nervous system. It has
previously been shown that intracortically recorded signals can be
decoded to extract information related to motion, allowing non-
human primates and paralysed humans to control computers and
robotic arms through imagined movements
1–11
. In non-human
primates, these types of signal have also been used to drive activation
of chemically paralysed arm muscles
12,13
. Here we show that
intracortically recorded signals can be linked in real-time to muscle
activation to restore movement in a paralysed human. We used a
chronically implanted intracortical microelectrode array to record
multiunit activity from the motor cortex in a study participant with
quadriplegia from cervical spinal cord injury. We applied machine-
learning algorithms to decode the neuronal activity and control
activation of the participants forearm muscles through a custom-
built high-resolution neuromuscular electrical stimulation system.
The system provided isolated finger movements and the participant
achieved continuous cortical control of six different wrist and hand
motions. Furthermore, he was able to use the system to complete
functional tasks relevant to daily living. Clinical assessment showed
that, when using the system, his motor impairment improved from
the fifth to the sixth cervical (C5–C6) to the seventh cervical to first
thoracic (C7–T1) level unilaterally, conferring on him the critical
abilities to grasp, manipulate, and release objects. This is the first
demonstration to our knowledge of successful control of muscle
activation using intracortically recorded signals in a paralysed
human. These results have significant implications in advancing
neuroprosthetic technology for people worldwide living with the
effects of paralysis.

Source: Restoring cortical control of functional movement in a human with quadriplegia : Nature

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